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Helen Ernestine Wilson Bates


Posted By: Donald M Wilson (email)
Date: 1/16/2017 at 16:31:08

She graduated from Kellogg High School. She attended Simpson College in Indianola, IA. and graduated with a 2 year Normal Course teaching certificate in June of 1929. Prior to her marriage she taught school in Colfax, IA.
She and Arlen lived in Beech, Iowa where she taught Elementary Education at the Beech Consolidated School. Later she resided in Indianola, IA. and taught sixth grade English. They lived at 306 W. Boston and 1010 W. Salem streets in Indianola, IA.

She wrote-"I was just born a teacher and never had any idea of being anything else. I am a teacher because there were those who demanded of me my best and did so by conveying to me, through their words and attitudes, their faith in my abilities.-----"

After her death her belongings included a "Best Teacher" plaque given her by one of her students. Grand-Nephew, Greg A. Wilson called the man who gave it to her and returned it to him. He stated that she was indeed a good teacher who "always had control of her classroom"-that she was always very organized and neat.

ED. NOTE: While we were attending a Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemoration in 2004 we met a noted author, Dayton Duncan. When learning that we were from Iowa he exclaimed that he also was Indianola, IA.! We asked him if he would happen to have known Helen Bates. He exclaimed again, that she was his teacher! He spoke highly of her as a teacher and had good memories of his time in Iowa where he still has relatives. (DMW)

She tells the story re-May Day as a child----"that was one time my dad left the horses harnessed (after having worked in the fields) and after supper took us to 2 or 3 of the neighbors with our May baskets made of wallpaper."

Also, the story that in 1926, her brother, Max was hitching up a horse to a wagon she was sitting in. Before he had the bridle on the horse, someone went by on a bicycle and spooked the horse and it took off running down the street where people were lining both sides. They hollered for her to "jump". She did and sprained her ankle and hurt her back. The family doctor seemed more concerned about her ankle and never paid a lot of attention to her back. That injury turned out to bother her intermittently all her life as a herniated disc. In her later years this turned out to be a chronic problem for her but she has managed to get by without surgery.

In 1931, she wrote that she had contracted the mumps from a girl student in her fourth grade class at Beech, IA. and that on May 15th a "boyfriend" came from Beech to attend the Kellogg Alumni Banquet with her. This may have been Arlen.

In her later years she suffered from congestive heart symptoms, a broken hip which was replaced (twice), cataracts and vertigo caused by a stroke.

She and Arlen enjoyed meeting her brothers and sister and their spouses on an occasional Saturday for a meal and reminiscing about their lives past.


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